Measure to Curb Autonomy of Polish Universities Opposed at First Reading

The government measure aiming at the partial abolition of the autonomy of the Polish Universities, to enable the police to enter the University campuses in the event of disturbances, came up for its first reading in the Sejm yesterday and encountered the joint opposition of the National Democrats and the Left Wing.

Dr. Isaac Gruenbaum, who left Poland to take up residence abroad, last year, returned to take his place as a member of Parliament and spoke strongly in favor of the curtailment of university autonomy.

Dr. Gruenbaum’s appearance on the rostrum was greeted with a prolonged uproar. He charged the National Democratic Party with responsibility for the need of the measure because of its part in sponsoring street fights among the student youth.

It is ridiculous to advocate freedom for the universities in the light of the latest university disturbances, Dr. Gruenbaum asserted. It is impossible to adopt a criterion of freedom for professors who watch with indifference as men and women students alike are beaten up and tossed out of windows.

The modifications in the autonomy of the universities proposed by the government as an aftermath to the recent serious student disturbances, call for: police to be permitted to enter University buildings in the event of disturbances; appointments of professors to the faculties to be vested in the hands of the President of the Polish republic; student rioters to be placed on trial in the ordinary criminal courts instead of in the University Disciplinary Courts as at present; student organizations to be under the direct supervision of the Minister of Education; all student meetings to require the sanction of the Rector and to take place on the University campus only, while discussions of political questions are to be prohibited.

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